It’s no wonder so many people go car shopping after
Vacations and weekend drives are always better with a new ride — and today there's no reason that ride can't be as green as a picnic at the park. Gone are the days when eco-friendly meant boxy and boring. Now there's a whole spectrum of vehicles available, from economical commuters to versatile family wagons — even souped-up sports and luxury rides.
There's a green model to suit any lifestyle. Let's test drive a sampling.
"Americans are very much aware and concerned with environmental and gas-importing issues, but they don't want to give up their versatility and cargo space," he said.
Exhibit A: The all-new 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid compact utility vehicle is everything an SUV lover could want in a small package, with versatility joined by performance and advanced technology (hands-free liftgate and Sync are included). Best of all, mpg is expected to range up to the mid-40s.
Replacing the pioneering Ford Escape Hybrid in the crossover segment, the C-MAX is joined by a slew of new green rides.
The Prius v is loaded with new tech. Entune accesses mobile apps as well as endless music options — from iheartradio’s 750-plus stations to Pandora’s personalized playlists. And it allows hands-free voice text-message exchanges.
Stepping up in class, check out the new ActiveHybrid X6, one of BMW’s latest hybrid crossovers, a boldly styled midsize that runs entirely on electricity at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. This impressive ActiveHybrid, with all-wheel-drive standard and 480 horsepower, has seating for four or five.
Getting to work has never been so affordable — or exciting. Toyota’s newly expanded Prius family also features the super-green Prius c compact sedan (that’s “c” as in city). A smaller version of the original, it serves up 53 mpg around town — the highest mileage for any non-electric ride — and no shortage of cool cachet. It too is equipped with Entune, along with a sticker price that’s lower than the regular Prius.
The all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco adds a sporty edge and upgraded dual-cockpit interior to the redesigned Malibu line — along with a mild-hybrid 2.4-liter direct-injection engine and electric motor that combine for up to 37 mpg highway.
Malibu has never been so stylish — think Camaro DNA channeled through a more luxurious midsize package with sporty handling and high-tech MyLink infotainment system. And the aerodynamic Eco is positioned as one of the most affordable green options on the market.
"The Malibu Eco is a smart choice for customers who want a great-looking car inside and out with excellent fuel economy, but without the higher price of some hybrid sedans," said Russ Clark, director of Chevrolet marketing.
For those who prefer a touch of luxury in their commutes, Lexus has beefed up its hybrid line with the CT 200h, a sporty premium five-door compact with extreme green credentials: The CT 200h gets 43 mpg in city driving and 40 highway through a 1.8-liter
Want to switch to clean diesel? The popular Volkswagen Jetta TDI is equipped with a turbo 2-liter engine that gets more than 40 mpg. VW plans to follow it up with a 2013 Jetta Hybrid that fetches a combined 45 mpg.
We're especially impressed with the elegantly aggressive 2012 Infiniti M35h midsize hybrid sedan, rated up to 30 mpg with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine churning out a combined 360 horsepower. A gas-electric version of the M37, it offers standard features including leather upholstery and a moonroof.
In addition to its well-received BlueTEC diesel line, Mercedes-Benz recently rolled out the S400 Hybrid, a sexy full-size sedan packing a 3.5-liter V-6 that kicks out nearly 300 horsepower. The S400 interior is all chrome and wood, with a host of cutting-edge options: massaging seats, infrared night-vision and, yes, even a driver drowsiness monitor that makes sure you don’t nod off.
Lincoln weighs in with the MKZ Hybrid, a midsize luxury sedan with all the comfort and extras that Lincoln lovers covet (cooled leather seating comes standard, no small incentive in SoCal summers), along with 41 mpg in-city and 36 highway fuel efficiency. The 2.5-liter I-4 gas engine couples with the electric motor to generate 191 horsepower.
“The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid offers everything our customers look for in a midsize luxury sedan, plus unsurpassed fuel economy,” said Derrick Kuzak, vice president of Ford Global Product Development.